Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.


The latter part of the 20th century was a period of remarkable change in Canada. In particular, there was a dramatic evolution in the role of women in Canadian society as women became increasingly involved in the full range of social and economic aspects of life in this country. Most notably, women have become an integral part of the paid labour force, accounting for almost half of all those working for pay or profit. However, with the new century come new challenges. On the one hand, substantial gender gaps persist on most major socio-economic variables. In fact, the pace of improvement in many of these areas has slowed dramatically in recent years. At the same time, vigilance is required to ensure that past gains on the road to true gender equality in Canada are not lost.

This edition of Women in Canada, the fifth in a series that started in 1985, documents the current status of women in Canadian society by presenting the most recent and relevant data on a wide range of issues critical to gender equality. The report presents a comprehensive portrait of women in Canada today including their demographic profile, family status, health, educational attainment, labour force characteristics, and income levels, as well as their involvement in criminal activity as both perpetrators and victims. In addition, because there are significant differences in the experiences of Canadian women from different backgrounds, separate chapters are included describing the unique characteristics of Aboriginal women, immigrant women, women in a visible minority, senior women and women with disabilities.

The report is primarily national in scope, although many key indicators are disaggregated by province and by major census metropolitan area. As well, the data included in this report have been largely drawn from published Statistics Canada sources such as the Census of Canada, the Labour Force Survey, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, the General Social Survey and the Canadian Community Health Survey. The report, though, also includes some previously unreleased data.

While Women in Canada describes the situation of women and men in Canada as comprehensively as possible, this report is not exhaustive and certain data gaps exist. Those seeking more information, or with questions about data comparability or quality, should contact Statistics Canada directly. Specific questions or comments on this report or its subject matter should be addressed to Client Services and Dissemination by calling (613) 951-5979 or by e-mail at Further information on these topics may also be attained by calling the toll-free national Statistics Canada inquiries service at 1 800 263-1136 or by consulting the Statistics Canada web page at